SELLER: Halsey Minor
LOCATION: Sarbonne Road, Bel Air, CA
PRICE: $11,400,000 (reduced from $12,900,000)
SIZE: 7,479 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: One of the most incredible "view" properties in prime lower Bel Air overlooking staggering unobstructed city to ocean views. Gated & private.
YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Back in March of 2006 a Bay Area based tech guru and net nerd named Halsey Minor dropped a spine tingling $20,000,000 to purchase a glitzy glass house on Sarbonne Road in one of the snazzier sections of seriously-swank Bel Air. Many, including Your Mama, wondered what in the world the married and filthy rich father of three needed with a slinky, sexy and not very kid friendly party pad that looks out over the twinkling lights of Los Angeles. Turns out the Midas-like entrepreneur has a bit of a thing for trophy properties, although it seems this particular property may prove to be a bit white elephant rather than a trophy.
Before we discuss the real estate, let's have a bit of background on Mister Minor. In 1993 Virginia born Mister Minor founded a hugely successful technology company called CNET, an online service that provides news and information about technology and hi-tech products. CNET is widely thought to be the first internet company to actually make money...and make money it did, hand over micro-chip. Mister Minor has since moved on to other lucrative ventures and money making opportunities, but CNET remains a reliable source of information and reviews among technophiles.
A few days ago, Mister Minor's big glass box in Bel Air hit the market with a $12,900,000 asking price...which all the children with eyes and brains will note is significantly less than the $20,000,000 he paid for the palatial place in 2006. Way less. The first to contact Your Mama about this perfectly puzzling and perplexing situation was Our Fairy Godmother in Bel Air. Within days, Your Mama received oodles of phone calls and dozens of emails wanting to know why a manicured and modern mansion like Mister Minor's would need to be sold off for $7,100,000 less that was paid for it just over two years ago. In Bel Air!
Well, don't none of us need to be an Albert Einstein to figure out that there has got to be some sort of sinister snake in Mister Minor's real estate grass. Your Mama has heard whispers and rumors from people all up and down Sunset Boulevard, and we're sure some of you have too. But the truth is we really don't know the durdy poop on this property. We can, however, speculate (SPECULATE, children, SPECULATE) that Mister Minor might have a cash flow problem (doubtful), there might be a structural issue or something geologic, or maybe mold has set in. OR, it could also be that Mister Minor is just real estate fickle and wants to quickly rid himself of a high maintenance mansion that requires tremendous sums of cash to keep looking meticulous. Your Mama is hyperventilating just thinking about the gigantic window washing bills.
Your Mama asks that the children take note that the above photos show the house as it was decorated by the previous owner, a wise individual who hired bigwig interior designer Charles Allem to do up the interiors with soo-blime monochromatic palettes, uncompromising detailing and ungodly expensive finishes that make Your Mama's head spin . This place is far too glam-or-uhs and a too "done" for Your Mama and the Dr. Cooter, not to mention that our long bodied bitches Linda and Beverly would have every window streaked with their nose juice in about 3 minutes flat, but we still think this place his speck-tack-u-lar...lacking in life and maybe not even so easy to actually live in, but certainly it's lovely to look at, at least as far as we're concerned.
In addition to the 4 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms, the chunky white residence includes living and dining rooms all done up in brown and green, a 2-story study in red, a media room, a giant gym, a stainless steel kitchen that would drive our house gurl Sventlana straight to the crazy house, and a master bedroom with dual bathrooms. Outside are front courtyards with checkerboard landscaping, high hedges, intimate garden spaces, outdoor living areas that include a kitchen, and an 80 foot long infinity pool with a spa.
He may not be a household name outside of Silicon Valley, but Mister Minor is certainly no stranger to dramatic, grandiose and famous houses. In fact Mister Moneybags has been on a bit of buying spree the last few years. Property records show that he continues to own the 8,516 square foot cliff hanger he's long owned on Sea Cliff Avenue in San Francisco's foggy but exuberantly expensive Sea Cliff neighborhood, where the children will recall that weird Robin Williams lives and where our favorite loose lipped wing nut ack-tress Sharon Stone once lived.
In July of 2007, the tech titan purchased the well known Koshland Mansion on ritzy Washington Street in San Francisco. Located in the posh Presido Heights neighborhood, the 17,895 square foot house with 8 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms was built in 1902 to resemble the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette's private getaway on the grounds of the Palace of Versaille. Your Mama hasn't a clue what Mister Minor paid for the insanely lavish residence, but we know it was listed for a variety of numbers above twenty and below thirty million clams.
Fast forward to December of 2007 when the forty something Mister Minor purchased Carter's Grove Plantation, an historic 400 acre estate that sits on the James River outside of colonial Williamsburg, VA and includes a 35-room Georgian style plantation home. Recent reports reveal he plans to use the property as a private residence and thoroughbred horse-breeding farm.
Eventually the real story will come out as to why Mister Minor is willing to lose more than seven million damn dollars on this property, but until then we'll leave it to the children to come up with all manner of cock-eyed and crazy ideas and notions.
YOUR MAMAS UPDATE (later same day): Your Mama was contacted by a man we'll call Mister Green With Envy who recently visited this house and whispered in our big ear that, "All carpets have been pulled up and the place is empty and dirty. Several panes of glass that form the exterior balconies are broken and the entire ground floor is torn down to the studs. Most bathrooms have had everything removed, leaving a nice hole and a concrete floor." All of which means, of course, that the new owner will need to spend at least a couple million smackers on top of the purchase price to put this Humpty Dumpty back together again.
Although mega-rich folks do it all the time, Your Mama still has to wonder why Mister Minor would spend $20,000,000 to purchase a carefully and meticulously designed and deco-ray-ted house only to tear it all apart? Did he just get tired of having to make bazillions of decisions about which Calcutta marble to use and which Waterworks faucets to buy? Hmm.